Resolute Mining has extended the mine life of the Ravenswood gold operation in Queensland by three years through a mine expansion project.
Ravenswood, approximately 95km southwest of Townsville, is now expected to end operations in 2032 following the revision.
In addition to the life-of-mine extension, the project has significantly lowered its all-in sustaining cost (ASIC) by $69 per ounce (oz) of gold to $1,097/oz, at an average production rate of 115,000oz/y.
The update has also resulted in the deferment of around $100 million of project capital due to a mining extension at Mt Wright, which was originally expected to close in mid-2017 but has now been revised to the final quarter of 2019.
Mt Wright is the underground component of the Ravenswood project. According to a Resolute announcement, Mt Wright’s extended life was achieved through “careful and conservative management” of sub-level cave stope draw over several years, resulting in an overdraw from current production levels.
The Ravenswood expansion project (REP) is primarily focused on the closure of Mt Wright and completion of open pit operations at Nolans East over the next two years, followed by a move towards mining of the newer open pit Buck Reef West in 2020 and Sarsfield by 2025.
The Nolans processing plant will also undergo expansion, first to 3.2 million tonnes a year (Mt/y) capacity by the start of 2020 (a gain of 0.4Mt/y), and then to 5Mt/y by 2024.
Resolute managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said the REP demonstrated the project’s long-term value to shareholders.
“We have a strong history of operational experience based on open pit and underground mining,” he said. “Our team has shown agility and skill in managing both a highly successful and unique underground operation and large scale open pit mining.
“I am proud that our imagination and tenacity has been rewarded in defining a long-term future for the asset.”